A precursor of religion?
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10-06-2013, 01:51 PM
RE: A precursor of religion?
(10-06-2013 01:09 PM)ghostexorcist Wrote:  
(10-06-2013 12:19 PM)ridethespiral Wrote:  So correct me if I'm wrong but your basically saying is that this is a fear response to the unknown or the surprising...an agressive and energetic response to insecurity, like an aggressively insecure dog passing another dog on a walk. "I dunno wtf is going on right now with this falling water but I'd better act tough right now just in case some other male thinks me weak."

...Also I just noticed you are a primate biologist, very cool to have you in this thread and I wish my career was so cool.

The odd thing is that chimps live around these waterfalls. The primatologist William McGrew questions why fear would have anything to do with it since they should become habituated to it at some point. They display by themselves or sometimes as a group. He states this is an eastern chimp phenomenon. Those from central (with the exception of Tai forest) and west Africa don't do this. That is why he lists this under "ritual" (something they commonly do in the presence of waterfalls) in his book on chimpanzee culture.

I'm still a student. I hope to focus on the primate fossil record in grad school.

Oh I was talking about the rain, not the waterfall...but on the topic of the waterfall is it possible that the males are attempting to 'claim' the waterfall and hence all the posturing? Is the power display unique to the dominant males or all of the males?

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10-06-2013, 02:14 PM
RE: A precursor of religion?
(10-06-2013 01:51 PM)ridethespiral Wrote:  Oh I was talking about the rain, not the waterfall...but on the topic of the waterfall is it possible that the males are attempting to 'claim' the waterfall and hence all the posturing? Is the power display unique to the dominant males or all of the males?

"Rain dances" as they are known in the literature are done in groups--i.e. a group activity. There is no way that males could claim a communal source of water. They would most likely get their backsides handed to them by the rest of the community if they tried. Jane Goodall has witnessed females less frequently displaying around water falls as well. The displays are done specifically in the presence of the waterfall (or rain) and then the chimps leave.
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10-06-2013, 03:12 PM
RE: A precursor of religion?
(07-06-2013 11:00 AM)ghostexorcist Wrote:  Frans de Wall discusses this briefly in his book The Bonobo and the Atheist (2013). Although he likes Goodalls explanation, he posits that the chimps could possibly have developed some type of superstition that displaying during rain showers will cause it to stop (they hate being cold and wet like us). I found this suggestion interesting because the Golden Bough, a 19th-century work of anthropology, states that superstitions gave way to religion and that this eventually gave way to science.

What did you think of the book 'The Banobo and the Atheist'? I have been considering reading it? By the way, majored in Physical and Cultural Anthropology as well.
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10-06-2013, 03:27 PM
RE: A precursor of religion?
(10-06-2013 03:12 PM)Cloud Strife Wrote:  What did you think of the book 'The Banobo and the Atheist'? I have been considering reading it? By the way, majored in Physical and Cultural Anthropology as well.

I give it a 3/5 (I normally love de Waal's work). You can read my review of it here.
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10-06-2013, 03:49 PM
RE: A precursor of religion?
Thanks for the review. I just checked it out.

I think I’ve wanted to like the book because it seems like the kind of thing I’m really interested in. But I just have this feeling that it would be a let down because it won't match up with my expectations of what I want it to be. Your review basically cleared up that it probably would end up being exactly that let down for me for the exact reasons that you mentioned.
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11-06-2013, 12:51 PM
RE: A precursor of religion?
(10-06-2013 03:49 PM)Cloud Strife Wrote:  Thanks for the review. I just checked it out.

I think I’ve wanted to like the book because it seems like the kind of thing I’m really interested in. But I just have this feeling that it would be a let down because it won't match up with my expectations of what I want it to be. Your review basically cleared up that it probably would end up being exactly that let down for me for the exact reasons that you mentioned.

I know how you feel. I really did want to like this because I'm a fan of de Waal's work. He just let his personal biases color too much of the content. He does quote from several books that might be of interest. One such work is by Christopher Boehm, which I plan to read at a later date:

http://www.amazon.com/Moral-Origins-Evol...f+morality
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